Rosacea is a common skin condition in adults over the age of 30. Living with rosacea can be problematic, flares can pop up anytime and anywhere. According to the NHS, an estimated 1 in 10 Brits are living with rosacea, and despite this there is no cure for the skin condition that produces acne-like breakouts and visible blood vessels. Individual flare ups differ case by case but there are specific things that can make any symptom worse.
It is still uncertain what causes rosacea, but when you flush, blood rushes to your face, making it red and warm. Ultimately, this makes your rosacea worse. Avoiding activities and emotions that cause you to flush can reduce your rosacea symptoms. To explain the most common rosacea triggers, aesthetic specialist at Candela Medical, Chanele Rosa has revealed the 7 most common triggers.
1. Drinking excessive alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger rosacea flare ups so you might want to consider limiting your intake. Certain drinks have been noted as the top influencers of rosacea breakouts such as red wine, beer, gin and vodka. It is worth making a conscious effort to understand your limits and find an alternative to de-stressing in a way that doesn’t cause flare ups.
2. Eating spicy foods
Spicy foods have been found to be a big culprit in worsening rosacea symptoms. A survey of over 400 people by the National Rosacea Society found that spices and hot food worsened symptoms in up to 75% of adults suffering with rosacea. The reason why spicy foods aggravate symptoms is because of a compound called capsaicin which gives food heat. Capsaicin affects the pain receptors in your skin making it feel warm which leads to flushing. Although it increases burning and colour in the face, spicy foods do not cause rosacea.
Exercise is good for the body and the soul; but it can increase the likelihood of a flare-up. Cardio in general is known to be the most aggravating due to the increase in the body’s demand for oxygen which results in higher respiration and heart rates. This can range from low to medium intensity forms of activity such as jogging, swimming and cycling. Increased heart rate and respiration causes flushing from increased blood flow to the skin. The key is to modify the workout to minimise the effects on rosacea whilst still maintaining the cardiovascular and respiratory benefits, consider exercising in off-peak hours when the sun is low, the temperature is cool and always keep yourself hydrated.
4. Being stressed
Stress and anxiety can cause rosacea symptoms to become increasingly worse. Life can be unfair sometimes so you can’t always avoid stressful thoughts, but you can help minimise the effects it has on your life and skin. Mediation, yoga and tai chi are great stress-busting activities. Meditation may change your brain structure by changing how you absorb information and ultimately avoiding over stressing. Learn which way works best for you to find your inner peace before stress results in a rosacea flare-up.
5. Sun exposure
Sun exposure is the most common factor that triggers rosacea. Ultraviolet rays from the sun is recorded as a trigger for rosacea because of the severe-exposed skin that rosacea causes. Those with fair skin are more likely to experience sun damage, and signs of sun damage can be found on rosacea skin tests. To protect your skin, limit exposure to the sun especially between 10am and 4pm and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects against UVA and UVB rays.
6. Makeup ingredients
Makeup can help hide signs of rosacea but be careful with what you’re using as certain ingredients can leave your skin dry and irritated. Mineral-based makeup is a great choice for people with rosacea as it doesn’t contain preservatives or other additives that can irritate the skin. If you need foundation, opt for silicone, some makeup comes tinted with green or yellow base which helps to hide redness. Water-based makeup that is fragrance-free and nonallergenic is best for rosacea sufferers. Avoid products containing alcohol, menthol, witch hazel and eucalyptus oil.
7. Extreme cold
Bitter winter winds and temperatures commonly trigger rosacea. If outside in minus temperatures, cover your face with a scarf or ski mask to avoid irritating the blood vessels and apply sunscreen. For extra protection, ask your dermatologist about a skin barrier topical cream that could further protect your skin from winter rosacea flare ups. It is best to limit your outdoor time if you find an increased irritation from the wind.